I have seen Beartooth live on countless occasions. Every time, I have loved their performance, but, still, I never really sat down and listened to them. With their sophomore full-length, Aggressive, coming out soon, I knew it was the perfect time to really dedicate a few hours to seeing what the four-piece could offer. Aggressive is the first release that has the group working together, and, while nothing is particularly groundbreaking, there are multiple standout moments throughout the twelve tracks.
The album’s opener, “Aggressive,” is also the record’s first single and its title track. Though the track is enjoyable and by no means one you should skip, I feel as though there are stronger songs featured later on. That being said, “Aggressive” sets up the theme for the album, which is being unapologetic for who you are and the choices you make.
The second track is “Hated,” and it speaks to those who are constantly tearing others down on the Internet. With the abundance of social media these days, it has become so easy to spread negativity and rarely face repercussions for words said. There are plenty of songs that help those who are facing bullying but not nearly as many who directly address those who are doing the harm. Shomo has no fear in calling them out as he passionately delivers, “Didn’t forget and you’re not forgiven,” throughout the track.
It is evident that many fans are able to connect with the music because of the honesty that Shomo pours into the lyrics. Every line is directly from his life experiences, and it seems like this album is no different. “Sick of Me” is an honest depiction of what it’s like living for someone aside from yourself, and this is clear as he sings, “I’m sick of the person I used to be / So stressed out, burned out, living in my agony.” The song is an anthem to live your life as honestly as possible instead of focusing on who other people want you to be.
The final track on Aggressive is the shortest and is the biggest deviation from their previous works. They have never put out a song like “King of Anything” before, and it is that uniqueness that drew me to it. The song seems to speak out about Shomo’s problem with being a musician. He has stated before that he writes music for no one but himself, but, still, that rarely ever stops someone from demanding something from you. It’s this pedestal he now stands on that he wishes he were never lifted to as he screams, “I’m not the one to worship / and I’m not the one to blame.” The frustration that comes with trying to make everyone happy is palpable here through the lyrics, as this is one of their tamest tracks instrumentally. Overall, this may be the most direct message a band has put out to their fans as Shomo repeats, “But you made up your mind and you put me on your stage / Just take it all back / I’m not the king of anything.” It’s a reminder to everyone that musicians are just regular people.
Although Beartooth isn’t changing the game with Aggressive, they’re showing that they deserve to be heard. If you’re still holding out on listening to them due to previous grudges, it’s time to let it go, listen, and enjoy.
REVIEW BY KELLY FADDEN